Modus Operandi: Making space for inspiration

An edited version of this was published in the Mumbai edition of Hindustan Times. From a distance, the corner of the gallery that artist Mithu Sen has claimed as her own seems inviting. There’s a strip of pink running from ceiling to floor. A lamp hangs low, throwing light on a simple table that seems to have pink photo frames on it. Once you come closer, the work (titled “Permanent Past”) threatens to rejig your understanding of pink. Because this is not the colour of baby girls’ dresses, but a fleshy, gummy pink that’s shining as though slick with saliva. … Continue reading Modus Operandi: Making space for inspiration

Victoria Finlay And The Arnolfini Portrait

This passage describes the painting above and is from Victoria Finlay’s book, Colours: Travels Through The Paintbox: It shows a couple standing inside a richly furnished room; they are holding hands but to me they do not look as if they are in love. In fact, quite the opposite: the man looks old and cold in his fur cloak and huge hat; the woman is looking away from him, and both of them seem to exude a deep sadness. For years the painting was believed to be a portrait of the marriage of a wealthy merchant called Giovanni Arnolfini and … Continue reading Victoria Finlay And The Arnolfini Portrait

She needs…

Last year, Prashant Panjiar had the excellent idea of creating an exhibition that melded words and photographs for Serendipity Arts Festival.  It’s a simple and elegant concept: a photographer takes a photograph, a writer responds to it. The photographer doesn’t know the writer and the writer doesn’t know who took the photograph. What emerges is something new — part word, part photograph, rich with different perspectives. Prashant had a set of photographs he’d selected and asked me to help him find the writers who would respond to the photographs in words. I wasn’t supposed to write any of the pieces and it was only … Continue reading She needs…

Review: Udta Punjab

The concise, printed version appeared in the Hindustan Times, which you can see here. The unedited version is below. * On the face of it, Udta Punjab has everything going for it. Shahid Kapoor spends much of his screen time shirtless: win. He’s in a film with Kareena Kapoor Khan: another win (even if they don’t have a single scene together). Alia Bhatt delivers a virtuoso performance as a migrant worker. Diljit Dosanjh makes his Bollywood debut, shows off his comic timing as well as hero-wallah charm, sings a hauntingly lovely song and gets the girl (sort of). The cinematography by … Continue reading Review: Udta Punjab

Udta Punjab: the dilemma of a film reviewer

It’s a film that a lot of us want to love, given how the CBFC has tried to yank its chains. But should you be kinder to a film because it was harder to get it released? Or should you just see a film for what is on screen? I ponder on this here.  For those too lazy to click, read on. (But come on, you can click, right? If not for the article, then for a photo of Shahid Kapoor as Tommy Singh?) * Yesterday evening, there was a press show organised by the publicity team of Udta Punjab. … Continue reading Udta Punjab: the dilemma of a film reviewer

On Marriage

There are certain things I hadn’t imagined. One of them was me being in India Today’s annual sex-survey issue. Read it here, illustrated by a sketch by FN Souza (whee!). For those who are lazier, et voila:   Let’s play a game. What comes to mind the moment you hear the word marriage? Matrimonial ads detailing caste and complexion? Weddings that leave families bankrupt? More bills to pay? Jokes about hen-pecked husbands? Counselling? Meddling in-laws? Messy children and/ or messier divorce? If you’re among the tiny percentage that thought “happily ever after”, go give your spouse a hug and/or return to … Continue reading On Marriage